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MBL Evolutionary Biologist Mitchell Sogin to Kick Off 2005 Friday Evening Lecture Series

WOODS HOLE, MA—Dr. Mitchell L. Sogin, director and founder of the Marine Biological Laboratory’s (MBL’s) Josephine Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution will present the first Friday Evening Lecture of the 2005 season on June 17 at 8:00 PM in the MBL's Lillie Auditorium, located on MBL Street in Woods Hole. His lecture is titled "Unresolved Mysteries About Parasites and our Oldest Ancestors." The presentation is free and open to the public. Dr. Matthew Meselson, an MBL Adjunct Scientist and Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences at Harvard University will introduce Dr. Sogin.  

For nearly three billion years, the microbial world was the only form of life on Earth. Today microbes of untold diversity are the principal agents for catalyzing bigeochemical transformations of our biosphere. Some are significant pathogens that affect human populations and economies on a global scale. Dr. Sogin will speak about how these modest size life forms became so versatile and what their genomes can tell us about the origins of complex cellular architectures and multicellular organisms.

Using molecular techniques, Dr. Sogin’s research has changed our perceptions about the age and relationships amongst the major groups of eukaryotes (organisms, including plants, animals, and humans, whose genetic material is contained within a membrane-bound nucleus). His current research explores the genomic structure of human parasites and the diversity of microbes in marine environments. Most recently he has initiated a global effort to define microbial diversity in the world’s oceans.

Dr. Sogin received his B.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Jewish Center in Denver, Colorado, where he subsequently joined the faculty as a Senior Staff Scientist. Dr. Sogin was also an Associate Professor in the Microbiology Department of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and a Miller Professor at the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Sogin moved to the MBL in 1989 after establishing the summer Workshop in Molecular Evolution. He founded the Bay Paul Center in 1996. Over its short history, The Bay Paul Center has become a focal point for collaborative research between molecular biologists, biochemists, parasitologists, ecologists, and other colleagues from the MBL’s summer and resident communities, and from around the world.

The Friday Evening Lecture Series will continue throughout the summer at the MBL.  The remaining lectures in the series are below.

June 24
Porter Lecture - "Cell Division: From Inoué to New Cancer Drugs"
Timothy J. Mitchison, Harvard University
July 1
"Overwintering in the Arctic: Animal Strategies for Surviving the Long, Cold, and Dark"
Brian M. Barnes, University of Alaska
July 8
Glassman Lecture - "Parallel Paths in the Quest for a Malaria Vaccine: Use of Modern Vaccinology and Genomics vs. Basic Parasitology and Entomology to Realize the Goal"
Stephen L. Hoffman, Sanaria Inc.
July 15
Lang Lecture - "Modification of the cerebral cortex by experience"
Mark F. Bear, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Howard Hughes Medical Institute
July 21
Forbes Lecture - "Breeding Marine Fluorescent Proteins to Spy on Cells"
Roger Y. Tsien, University of California, San Diego; Howard Hughes Medical Institute

July 22
Forbes Lectures  - "Building Synthetic Molecules to Spy on Cells and Tumors"
Roger Y. Tsien, University of California, San Diego; Howard Hughes Medical Institute
July 29
"In Praise of Simple Minds: What the Study of Learning in a Marine Snail Can Tell Us About the Biological Origins of Cognition"
David L. Glanzman, University of California, Los Angeles
August 5
Distinguished Alumnus Lecture - "Stem Cells: A Paradigm Shift?"
Wise Young, Rutgers University
August 12
"The Science of Reading: Overcoming Dyslexia"
Sally E. and Bennett A. Shaywitz, Yale University
August 19
"Unraveling the Sense of Smell"
Linda B. Buck, Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center; co-recipient of the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

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The Marine Biological Laboratory is an internationally known, independent, nonprofit institution dedicated to improving the human condition through creative research and education in the biological, biomedical and environmental sciences. Founded in 1888, the MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the Western Hemisphere.